Nutrition from birth through 12 months
It is important to consult with your pediatrician when determining the appropriate nutrition of your child.
Children have different nutritional needs throughout their first years. Let’s take a look at their first three years. We can then feel comfortable about their eating skills and how they progress as they grow.
Michigan State University Extension says that your child’s first months of feeding should always comply with your pediatrics recommendations. Your newborn should consume breast milk or formula at least every three to four hours, and burped after each feeding/or every few ounces. Once a baby is 4-6 months, they usually consume four to five ounces per feeding, equaling about 20 to 24 ounces per day. Be sure to consult with your doctor about any questions regarding the amount of liquids, and if it seems too much or too little.
At 4-6 months of age your doctor will instruct you to introduce single ingredient cereals, although breast milk or iron fortified formula is still the primary form of nutrition. Around six months of age is an appropriate time to introduce the use of a Sippy-cup for drinking. Always start out with one food for up to five days to make sure the child is not allergic or sensitive to it. Some signs of this may be throwing up, rashes, loose stools or crankiness. Basic ways to start solids would include:
- Mixing single ingredient solids, like rice cereal with equal amounts of breast milk or formula.
- Start with one feeding a day and increase when your child can eat two to three tablespoons per feeding. Start with the mixture watery, bringing it up to a thicker consistency as they are able to tolerate.
- When baby becomes used to spoon feeding, add a single ingredient smooth or pureed food item.
At 6-12 months of age, although your child has been introduced to solids, their main nutrition should still be coming from about 24 ounces of breast milk or formula, per day. Once your child has adjusted to cereal (around 6 months of age), move on to smooth or pureed fruits and vegetables, then on to proteins.
Around 9 months, your child should be eating three meals a day while still receiving breast milk or formula. This is also a good time to introduce finger foods that are soft and do not need to be chewed.
If your child does not like a particular new food, always try to introduce at another. Also avoid hard foods that become a choking hazard.
Remember that being a picker eater, is most likely a phase that that children will grow out of. We need to remind ourselves that children are also developing their own taste buds at this time and we need to be patient. If you have any concerns about your child’s nutritional health, contact your local health department or their doctor.